Ferragamo claims $60m symbolic win against counterfeiters

Fashion group Salvatore Ferragamo has been awarded a massive $60m in damages in a US court in a lawsuit brought against websites selling counterfeits of its products.

In common with many of the cases of this type, the award of the New York court is largely symbolic. The lawsuit (Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A. v. Does) cited around 150 domain names peddling copies of the luxury brand owners, but as the owners of those domains are often hard to identify the damages are generally seen as a deterrent against others seeking to indulge in this kind of trademark-infringing activity.

The Italian design house – which saw revenues dip around 3 per cent to just under €1.4m last year – said it may be able to access some of the damages via PayPal and bank accounts linked to the domain names. However, it’s well established that those operating the websites tend to siphon funds received away as quickly as possible.

Ferragamo also takes ownership of the infringing domain names, keeping them from being used again, although there is little to stop the perpetrators setting up again with other variants.

Other brand owners that have won multimillion dollar lawsuits against websites selling knock-off copies of their products include Alexander Wang (awarded $90m in 2016), Belstaff ($42m in 2015), Coach ($267m in 2013), Richemont ($100m in 2013), and Gucci America ($144m in 2013).

“We are extremely pleased with the decision of the New York court, which also comprises exemplary damages, the highest ever awarded for this type of violation,” said Ferruccio Ferragamo, chairman of the Salvatore Ferragamo Group.

“The Internet is the prime channel for traffickers of counterfeit goods and it is therefore the focus of our monitoring and control efforts. In recent years, our group has implemented a series of anti-counterfeiting measures, both on- and off-line, to protect our customers and the value of our brand.”

In 2017, these measures enabled Ferragamo to have more than 35,000 items and illegal profiles removed from major social networks, as well as the interception, blocking and deletion of nearly 69,000 counterfeit products from online auctions, he continued.

The company also monitors offline markets, focusing its efforts on China, a region where it says counterfeiting is the most rampant. Last year, approximately 62,000 counterfeit Ferragamo products were seized in China, out of the over 268,000 counterfeit products seized around the world.

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